Mather Five-String Fretless Banjo

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Description (Brief)
This banjo is marked "F. P. Mather 1860." It is a five-string banjo with a bird’s-eye maple hoop, twenty brackets, brass-plated fingerboard, and machine tuners.

Fred Mather was a well known minstrel banjoist of the mid-19th century. Like banjos marketed under the name of other well known performers such as the Dobsons, this instrument was likely made in the New York factory of the Buckbee company. It is typical of mid-century commercial instruments in having a fretless neck, gut strings and a bentwood rim. The machine tuners and inlaid brass plate as well as the present arrangement of 20 head-tightening brackets are probably later 19th century additions.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
1860
maker
Mather, Fred P.
place made
United States: New York, New York
Measurements
overall: 34 in x 12 1/4 in x 3 1/2 in; 86.36 cm x 31.115 cm x 8.89 cm
ID Number
MI.207888
catalog number
207888
accession number
37279
Credit Line
Gift of Estate of Fred P. Mather through Adelaide Mather
subject
Music
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Musical Instruments
Music & Musical Instruments
Banjos
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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